A Few of My Favorite Things: Writing
This week's edition of my favorite things is on one of my favorite subjects: writing. I love writing; however, I have discovered that teaching the subject can be quite challenging...even when your student also loves writing. I have used and loved many resources in this subject, but I will limit this post to a few favorites that stand out.
My first favorite for writing (handwriting, actually) is proof that you don't have to spend a lot of money to cover a subject. When my younger child was learning to write, I simply found a handwriting printables site (I liked this one) and printed off a sheet for each letter. I then placed the sheets in page protectors, stuck them in a binder, and handed it to him with a dry erase marker. I tried to make it a fun activity and let him pull the binder out whenever he wanted. I have to tell you I was surprised by how effective this was. I choose d'nealian, or modern manuscript, because it transitions well into cursive writing.
My second favorite is truly a delightful resource. Classical Writing Primers are perfect for second or third grade and provide a transition for children from the skill of handwriting to the skill of writing. These spiral bound books have weekly lessons including copywork, narration, nature study, and picture study. They also include a small amount of gentle grammar/spelling lessons. The child narrates by illustrating an Aesop's Fable which he can read or have read to him. The copywork is from excerpts of classic books and poems. Some Christian references are included in the copywork like a psalm or hymn. There are also opportunities to use the copywork passages for memory work and/or dictation. These books are a very gentle way to introduce the skill of writing, and they also make wonderful keepsakes once completed. (A sample week can be seen at the site linked.)
My involvement with this last product is too fresh to label it a favorite, but I have a feeling it will definitely become one. The Institute for Excellence in Writing's Teaching Writing: Structure and Style is a very popular product, and I had seen it recommended often; however, I, for whatever reason, never took the plunge. Thanks to a friend loaning me her copy I have finally seen what I have been missing all these years. I decided to look deeper into the program after Riley completed a lesson from an IEW book while visiting her cousins' co-op. I knew I needed to give it a closer look when Riley came home and excitedly said the following: "Mom, we've done some great writing programs, but this is the first time everything clicked and made sense." The program is an investment at $169, but I do believe it is a worthwhile investment (and it has a great resale value). This particular product is for the teacher and lays out the heart of IEW's writing program. Once you have viewed this, you can implement it on your own or by using one of their many resources.